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Motorcycles Become Popular Getaway for Criminals in SAfrica

By    |   Monday, 03 Jun 2013 04:12 AM

Motorcycles have increasingly become the escape vehicles of choice for South African criminals — who have become increasingly brazen in using them to commit murder and rob jewelry stores, the Johannesburg Times reported.
 
The phenomenon isn't new.  In 2002, the Macs motorcycle gang began a reign of terror in Pretoria, the nation's administrative capital city. In one incident, a woman named Amanda Bronkhorst had her front teeth knocked out when she tried to break up a fight between gang members and diners at a restaurant.

"While they were hitting me, they said, 'you don’t mess with the Macs,'" Bronkhorst said at the time.

Bronkhorst was attempting to stop an altercation when a gang member slapped her in the face. She responded by stabbing him with a key.  As she was returning home, two men ambushed and assaulted her.

While she was able to identify her attackers, police made no arrests.

"The police are afraid of them. They normally bring about 25 officers to arrest one of the Macs members," said a source familiar with the case.

Biker crimes in South Africa are not just connected to robberies. Pretoria residents were shaken by a November 2011 murder in which a young mother died in a drive-by shooting by two masked motorcyclists. The woman was killed only moments after dropped off her five-year-old son at a crèche.

A number of mall robberies by helmeted bikers have made headlines in South Africa in recent years. In 2008, seven men wearing motorbike helmets and carrying hammers and an assault rifle smashed their way into a jewelry store at Pretoria's Brooklyn Mall.

They shoved the loot (2 million rand, or approximately $200,000) into bags and were later seen racing down the highway towards Johannesburg on their motorbikes.

In August 2009, a gang armed with pistols and wearing helmets and biker gear staged a daylight robbery on a Sunday at the Foursways Mall in Guateng province — the nation’s most populous. Two of the Six Foursway Mall robbers kicked and smashed their way through the glass doors at
Browns diamond store and fired gunshots inside the store before fleeing the scene.

Biker crime is not unique to South Africa. In April 2012, approximately 20 gunmen on motorbikes attacked Christian worshippers as they held a service in Kano, Nigeria.

An eyewitness who narrowly escaped death  said the killers tossed explosive devices into the building and opened fire on church members who were trying to flee.

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Motorcycles have increasingly become the escape vehicles of choice for South African criminals — who have become increasingly brazen in using them to commit murder and rob jewelry stores, the Johannesburg Times reported.
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2013-12-03
Monday, 03 Jun 2013 04:12 AM
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